It’s never too late to start freelance writing. A great profession to begin at any point in your working life, freelance writing offers a plethora of benefits and it doesn’t take long to find success stories of those who have already made the leap from a “regular” job to freelancing.
However, you might be worried about the practicality of it in your life and how you can actually become a freelance writer. Finding out where to start as a freelance writer can feel impossible, especially if you don’t come from a writing or editorial background! It’s time to discuss the first steps of becoming a freelancer so you can feel confident jumping into this exciting career.
First things first: are you…
- Passionate about writing?
- Ready to dedicate your free time to writing, likely unpaid to begin with, to build up your portfolio?
- Confident that you have the resources to have a potentially irregular income for a while?
- Keen to build your skills as a writer even further?
If the answer is yes to all the above, then it’s time to find out what to do next!
Becoming a freelance writer
Step one: discover your niche
It’s great that you’re feeling ready to step into the world of freelance writing. Deciding what type of writer you want to become is a key part of this – but more importantly, to start off, you should find your niche.
By this, we mean writing about topics that interest you. Interested in cars? Jot down your insights and start forming content based around them. Likewise for marketing: if you happen to feel confident about SEO, then that’s a great jumping-off point for writing a few blogs. Who knows – you might have things to say that others haven’t even considered.
Once you’ve found your speciality, stick to it! This is how you’ll be able to sell yourself as a freelance writer. Even if you digress or change your mind, you’ll have a catalogue of examples that showcase your writing style and personality, which will make you stand out from the crowd. When there are 57 million US-based freelancers alone, freelancing, in general, is a saturated market – but don’t let that put you off. It gives you all the more reason to be as unique as possible!
Step two: don’t be afraid to pitch
Pitching ideas can be intimidating, even if on the surface, it’s just sending out an email. Freshworks have a great article on how to write a cold email, which works just as well for writing as any other business enquiry. You need to sound confident; clear; memorable and get your ideas across. Don’t forget that titles are half the battle when it comes to engaging your audience – even if that audience is one person!
How do I know who to pitch to?
The best place to start is by googling a list of websites that allow you to guest post. Advanced Web Ranking has an extensive list to get you started, so it’s up to you who you decide to drop an email to. From there, it’s just a case of googling your newfound niche and finding emails for those sites you really want to be featured on. Don’t forget that there’s no such thing as aiming too high – you never know where it could lead.
Step three: invest
It’s hard starting as a freelance writer. Investing is a huge part of getting started – primarily, this means in yourself. Staying on track is key, so ensure you concentrate on confidence and self-belief, which sounds cheesy but it’s true!
Of course, money does come into this stage too. If you start gaining ground and getting some of your writing out there, you can begin to consider reducing your hours at your 9-5 job to dedicate more time to your craft. However, be wary of jumping into freelance writing too quickly: the average UK freelance writer earns £100 daily, so if you’re not up to this sort of level yet, don’t quit your day job to ensure you don’t financially jeopardise yourself.
Step four: don’t forget your online presence!
It can be really easy to get carried away with writing to the point that you forget that essentially, you are now your own brand. Combined with your established niche, this makes you an attractive talent for publications online (and offline) – but part of showcasing yourself comes down to having a visible portfolio at hand; not just a back catalogue of work that you can provide links to when requested. How do you have a portfolio? It’s simple: have a website.
Whether you use WordPress, Wix or Squarespace, all three companies can help you build and maintain a website that showcases your writing. Your website won’t just host your work, but will also provide you with an ‘About’ page and ‘Contact’ page, so those looking for your writing talents can get to know you a little and know how to reach out to you.
As a freelance writer, you likely won’t get interviews in a traditional job sense any more – so your website operates as your CV, portfolio, interview and pitch, all in one. Make the most of it!
Is there a quicker way to get experience in freelance writing?
In short, there isn’t. By following the steps above, you’re sure to become an established freelance writer over time. Of course, if you want freelance writing work that is more reliable, where you can choose what you want to write and get paid, then Copify is a fantastic place to get started.
Opportunities like Copify give you real experience with real clients, so you’ll get an idea of briefs you could be working to, and a more eclectic range of experience.
Remember: niche, pitch, invest, presence. With those four words in mind, as long as you keep dedicating time to your writing craft, you’re sure to discover a hugely rewarding, exciting career as a freelance writer.